Employees + Social Media Marketing
By now, most organizations should value and recognize the importance of their brand actively engaging in social media marketing.
Many of these platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) are not going anywhere anytime soon.
And these social platforms provide you access to the people that matter most for what your company does or sells.
Any current marketing strategies that do not value the importance of social media are truly missing out.
One strategy that is growing and equally important, is getting employees involved in social media marketing.
Below, we’ll cover a few things (feel free to jump to the section that matters to you):
Social media and Employee Advocacy
Here are just a few social media statistics from a WordStream article about social media:
- More than 56% of online adults use more than one social media platform
- 75% of male internet users are on Facebook as well as 83% of female internet users
- LinkedIn boasts more than 500 million user profiles.
- Almost 80% of time spent on social media platforms happens on mobile.
With numbers like these, it makes sense that social media plays a huge role in your company’s marketing strategy.
When it comes to managing social media, your company may already have a handful of people dedicated to social strategies and running the account handles.
While it’s essential to have an individual or a team managing your business’ social media, your marketing efforts will be far more successful if you get most, if not all employees involved as well.
During our research for our employee advocacy guide, we found some more interesting stats:
- Your employees have an average of 1,090 social connections (and growing)
- Employees have 5x more reach than corporate accounts
- Social followers of your employees are 7x more likely to convert
Also, a Nielsen study showed that 84% of people trust recommendations from friends, family, colleagues over other forms of marketing.
Re-read the above stats again, because it is incredibly important.
Your company’s social accounts are important for sharing, interacting with customers/clients, and establishing a brand presence.
But it’s your employee’s social connections that can actually amplify brand visibility, increase lead quality, drive web traffic, and boost social recruiting.
You might be wondering how you can get most or all employees to be involved in social media marketing.
It can be challenging, but our tips below will help ensure more employees are sharing and engaging with social media on behalf of your company.
Tips to Getting Employees Active in Social Media Marketing
Have a clear and accessible social media policy
Before considering getting employees involved as brand advocates, it’s important to have an accessible social media policy done and in place.
Many times — especially at larger companies — not all employees are aware of the current social media policies.
And that can be discouraging to employees and a roadblock.
If employees are not aware as to the policies or what is okay to post online, they may worry about the potential repercussions of what they share and instead, not participate in social media.
Make your company’s social media policy easy for employees to access at any time so they are clear on your company’s views.
Above all, your company social media policy should be simple, direct, and to the point.
You want to make it as clear as possible without sounding overly complicated or confusing.
Employees are already busy with their jobs, if you add a ton of rules and regulations, it’ll sound like too much work and not feel encouraging.
Share the company’s social media goals and mission
Similarly to having an accessible social media policy in place, sharing the company’s goals and mission for socially active employees is equally important.
From the company standpoint, the reasoning behind these social media initiatives should be clearly defined: why it matters, and ultimately what the overall goals are.
If executives are unsure of the goals or why it is important, why would other employees care to participate and be active on social media?
Additionally, being very transparent about the goals also encourages participation.
Not informing your fellow employees hinders the company culture and could generate mistrust in the overall brand.
Along with the transparency of the goals, share monthly reports of the employee efforts from social media.
Provide the data that shows how everyone is contributing and making a difference.
It will go a long way in not only keeping employees active in social media marketing.
And it will also encourage other employees who may have been reluctant previously to join their socially active colleagues.
Gamify the social media experience
While gamification will typically refer to mobile apps and games, it also becomes a valuable option for businesses looking to increase employee engagement.
The same concept can be applied to getting more employees involved in social media marketing as well by incentivizing participation.
This way, your company isn’t making it seem like participation is required. However, those who do get involved have a chance to receive some sort of incentive.
For example, our employee advocacy and social selling software displays a leaderboard that shows the top people sharing content, getting engagements, clicks, and shares.
This leaderboard can then be used to reward the top participants, whether that’s on a weekly or monthly basis. However, your company chooses to do so.
Rewards can be in the form of anything from:
- Paid for lunch by the company
- Gift cards
- Extra time off
- Donations in your name
- Guest post opportunities
- Employee recognition
Besides the potential reward option, a little internal friendly competition never hurt and can also drive employees to share more on social media.
But you can also create competitions between departments or for various campaign initiatives and then share the results.
Just remember not too lead with gamification only as it can have a negative impact longterm. We wrote more about this here.
Encourage participation, don’t force it
A major factor in getting employees involved in social media marketing at your company is to not force participation, only encourage it.
Making this process seem like another job duty or in a sense a “chore” will only harm participation.
Even if employees are active by being “required” or “forced” into participation, their involvement will be more robotic, less interesting, and may actually cause employees to be more disengaged.
This only defeats the purpose of getting employees active in the first place.
As new hires join the company, ensure right away they know where the social media policies are and what it means.
It should be clear that your company encourages getting involved and make sure the policy is easily accessible.
If you are using an employee advocacy tool like EveryoneSocial, host training sessions for employees who are interested in getting involved.
And if you work for a company with thousands of employees, maybe every month or quarter host webinars or multiple training opportunities.
More importantly, explain to employees at any chance how this participation not only benefits the company but helps them individually as well (professional career growth, thought leadership, etc).
You want to show that getting involved in social media marketing is mutually beneficial, not just one-sided.
Allow open dialogue
Although sharing and engaging with content is a priority, it’s important to make sure you are encouraging employees to provide feedback as well.
This feedback is what can help improve policies, gamification, and help other employees improve the way they engage in social media marketing.
Sounds easy right?
It can certainly be a challenge to create open communication in individual departments, but between ALL departments company-wide just sounds impossible.
Part of the solution to this challenge is to create a monthly or even bi-weekly meeting for the social media participants (no matter which department) to ask questions, report observations, provide tips, discuss what’s working and what isn’t, etc.
There should be no wrong or right answers, more of a completely open discussion so everyone can improve their social media marketing tactics.
To complete the success of this process, it’s important to consider some sort of collaboration tool also.
For example, an employee advocacy solution that allows all social collaboration in one centralized location for internal use.
This is a place where employees can like articles, leave comments, tag departments, provide feedback, host other sales or field marketing materials, and be able to share to individual social media accounts on the fly.
However, other tools become important too like potentially setting up a Slack channel dedicated to social employees for communication.
Even a project management tool like Trello, which also can allow communication and collaboration on specific social media campaigns.
More third-party content than branded
You’ve probably seen or come across articles that discuss how important third-party content is compared to your branded content.
Yet, a lot of times companies still forget this when it comes to getting employees involved in social and content sharing.
Even though you might be driving content to other resources, it will still benefit your company in the long run and your fellow colleagues.
Sharing quality third-party content shows your company has an industry leader that is on top of the latest trends, content, and industry-specific information.
More importantly, it helps employees showcase their knowledge, grows their individual expertise and knowledge, and even boosts their career growth.
Employees can truly develop rapport and overall trust with their social connections. This can lead to new business opportunities for the company and an overall interest in what your company stands for.
While employees won’t mind sharing company related content, they also do not want to sound like a sales pitch every time they share on social media.
If you are not giving colleagues good third-party options or encouraging them to share outside sources, you are limiting how many employees might be willing to participate, the frequency of shares, and missing out on potential new business.
However, before you allow employees to suggest third-party content, it’s important to clearly define the type of content that should be shared and why.
Again, this is where an employee advocacy tool becomes handy as employees can suggest content, have their own personal streams, and segmented content streams that an admin creates.
Furthermore, your company can also create an internal library of approved websites that employees can have access to and share what they choose from those sites.
It’s really up to your team and executive leaders how you want to go about getting the right third-party content to participants.
The ultimate goal of your social media marketing efforts and employees is to get everyone involved company-wide and actively engaging in the long run.
It may seem like a daunting task (even impossible), especially for companies with thousands of employees or with offices globally.
Yet, we’ve seen companies of all sizes succeed in getting their employees involved, engaged daily, and contributing to not only their company success but their individual online presence.
Electronic Arts accomplished social media success with their global offices and ignited their corporate culture by not only getting employees active in social media but also participating in open discussions with their participants.
Not all companies will be able to pull off internal social campaigns like Electronic Arts or what Dell has done over the years.
However, with executives who value their employees becoming more social, the above tips, some patience, and dedication to the long-haul, your company can and will reap the benefits.
This post was originally published on Everyone Social.